We caught up with our Employment Academy Graduate and now Kickstarter – Sharyce, who recently joined the Fundraising team, as an Events Coordinator. She talks us through her journey, life as an event planner and her goals for the future.
What do you like most about what you do?
Firstly, I like that fact that I can wake up happy every morning knowing I’m working not only in a place that I love, but also a job that I enjoy. I like working with my team and everyone across the House as everyone is open and the atmosphere is nice; it takes you away from the real world of London when you come through that big black door. I also like to see the outcome of the events that we work hard to put together!
What new skills have you acquired?
I have learnt to be more organised and more on top of things in general – not only at work but at home. I am learning to prioritise my workload as tasks build up through each week, which is a massive skill to learn. I would say that my confidence and communication skills have also developed a lot more. As well as this, my experience as an Event Coordinator and planner has developed a lot as I haven’t had much experience in this prior to joining the Fundraising team at the House.
What lead you to the House of St Barnabas?
I graduated from the House’s Employment Academy in 2020. Before I came to the Employment Academy, I was going through a lot. A mother of one, I was in doors all day with not much income. I was depressed and I dug myself into a rabbit hole which felt like it was never going to end. Much of the day, I would sit around cleaning my house to calm my anxiety and I lost all hope. I wanted to work but I didn’t have anyone there to help me with childcare and I didn’t have the funds to pay for nursery, so I really felt like there was no way around it. I couldn’t help but think negative thoughts all the time which would constantly make me feel rubbish.
I was referred to the charity Depaul through my social worker, who work with the House’s Employment Academy to find suitable people to enter their Employment Preparation Programmes. From there, I was put in contact with Brian Beaton, Programme and Employment Manager at the Employment Academy. He invited me for an interview, and I was chosen to participate in their 17th Employment Preparation Programme. It was hard at first because my anxiety levels were so high, but the Academy quickly taught me how to be a stronger person, how to take yourself out of negative thinking patterns and gave me the strength and desire to strive towards a better life.
After the course was done and I had graduated we weren’t left in the dark. We were paired up with mentors to guide us through the year ahead, offering additional emotional and professional support to that of the Employment Academy staff members. We had a choice of who to pick from, and luckily, I was matched up with the person who I felt like could relate to the most – Nicky. Nicky had travelled across the Atlantic Ocean; she was similarly creative– and had a bubbly personality that matched mine. She, alongside Jig in the Employment Academy, supported me through interview preparation, employment skills, and was even just there as someone who was outside my situation who could lend an ear.
Since graduation, my life has been transformed. I started in an Events Coordinator and planner role through the Government’s kickstart scheme this August, enabling me to earn money which provides more financial freedom to take my daughter out and do things with her. I have recently moved house to, and it feels like I’ve been given a fresh start for me and my family. I am forever grateful for what the House has done for me. I love where my life is going, and I am proud of myself for how far I have come.
Where do you hope to go next?
At the moment I have had ideas of starting up my own event planning and decorating business – but for now these are just ideas that I have. I would also like to write a book on my life. I also hope to get back into art. The possibilities are endless.
What’s your favourite thing about working for the House?
My favourite thing is that everyone is always happy, and everyone helps each other. I also love to see how the House changes people’s lives, like it has my own.
Anything else you want to share?
I would like to share how grateful I am to have the House, it’s been a pivotal part of my life and all the wonderful people I have met who have helped me along the way – particularly Nicky, Jig, Shelly, Brian, Wiktor, Bea. The House has changed my way of thinking and has helped me to become a stronger, more resilient person who is in charge of her own life. Working has given me my character back – instead of being just a mum I have come out of my shell as a person, and I can’t wait for the opportunities that life has to offer me as a result.
Catch up with our blog to find out more about our participants’ journeys to the House, their experience of the programme and their next steps following graduation by heading – here.